Letter from AIGA Upstate New York President

2:00 minutes left on the clock… you are wiped out… and awaiting graduation.

I recently heard a professor declare “we have everything we need to find our students jobs in New York City”. While this sounds very bold, I disagree. Yes, some colleges have the ability to carry on the task of finding student jobs, but more times than not, students enter the extra-ordinary task of finding themselves a job on their own, after graduation. Students are saying (again) to those who will stop and listen that they are in need of something more than instruction and a proprietary college portfolio. And that call to “something more” hasn’t changed or gone away in the year since I first wrote this letter. Which is why I am re-publishing it here.

Dear Graduating Graphic Design Students,

I appreciate you have had a considerable amount of feedback in the development and completion of your portfolio. However, at this point, it’s not what you know, but who you know, and who they know.

Assuming your ultimate goal is to gain employment following graduation, your main reasons for attending the AIGA Portfolio Reviews next Thursday are as follows:

  • Network with professionals;
  • have a potential employer become familiar with your work;
  • practice your interview skills; and,
  • get valuable feedback from professionals. That feedback can be on issues ranging from how best to present your portfolio to whom that person knows in New York City.

Worry less about whether the professional reviewing your portfolio works here in Rochester or in NYC. Worry more about learning whom that person knows. Many of the professionals participating in AIGA’s portfolio review have hundreds of connects along the east coast, not to mention throughout AIGA. Wouldn’t it be nice to have access to those contacts? Professionals are more likely to vouch for graduate they know well, and history shows students who participate in AIGA events build relationships with professionals who are willing to work on their behalf.

It’s not too late. Make the most of your time at the upcoming portfolio review and other events, meet as many people as possible, take business cards or copies of your resume, and practice talking about yourself and your work. You never know where it might lead.


4th Annual AIGA Portfolio Review – Albany, Rochester, Syracuse – Register today!

Published April 3, 2012
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